Where Do Wild Rabbits Sleep in the Winter?

December 16, 2023

Rabbits are one of the most beloved animals in the world. Their long ears and fluffy cheeks make them popular with children and adults alike. While domestic rabbits live in a fenced-in backyard, wild rabbits inhabit natural areas and must find their own homes. If you live in the country, chances are you’ve seen a wild rabbit hopping around. But where do these adorable mammals sleep in the winter?

A rabbit’s average body temperature is 102 degrees Fahrenheit, and they can survive temperatures as cold as 32 below zero. The key to this impressive survival is warmth generated from their thick fur and extra fat stores. They also have a range of behavioral adaptations that allow them to endure harsh winter conditions.

For example, they’ll curl up in a burrow or other small closed-in space to generate heat from their body heat. They may also use twigs, straw and leaves to line their nest for additional warmth. They also use the sun to generate warmth by basking on south-facing slopes, and they may huddle up near open water sources like rivers or streams to avoid wind chill.

Although they do not hibernate, rabbits have adapted to a cold climate with minimal food sources by using torpor and other behavioral strategies to reduce their metabolic rate. Wild rabbits that are able to access food caches and sheltered microclimates can maintain high population density in the face of extreme winter weather.

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